No.12: Flour’s Banana Bread
I said yes when Mad Scientist asked me if I wanted very ripe bananas. Don’t ask where he got them, but my gain. And there I was, staring at the ingredients again. I don’t know why I do this but I think I’m trying to let them tell me what they want to be. The vibe was… banana bread, again.
Past couple of years, I’ve been trying out different banana bread recipes to find the best one, the one that fits our taste buds. Adjusting, readjusting, less this, more that, and “once in a while,” taste. (yes, that’s a lie, I always taste everything.) As the collection of recipes grew, I hit the wall. I wanted more out of the banana bread than anyone, and it seemed like I was asking too much. So when I found this recipe, which was Chef Chang’s, I was excited but skeptical while I very much know the reputation of her bakery in Boston.
Let me tell you, the smell of this outrageous bread flooded the entire house while baking, making us very impatient. I immediately became like that mad person that you see on Black Friday, pushing everyone away so that I could be the first one to get in the door at 5 in the morning when I opened the oven. The golden color made me remember the pancake patties used in Dorayaki which is a type of Japanese sweets with red bean paste sandwiched in 2 pancakes. It was moist and flavorful even a day after. Well, it’s a keeper.
Adapted a little from Flour's Famous Banana Bread
- 1 2/3 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 bananas, very ripe, mashed
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1lb loaf pan
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the oil or oil the loaf pan with hand or paper towel very lightly, then line the bottom of the pan with a parchment paper.
Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and set aside. Beat granulated sugar and eggs with the hand mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in oil slowly and mix for another 5-7 minutes. Mixture should be very light.
Add bananas, brown sugar, sour cream, apple sauce and vanilla, and mix well until they are all combined.
Fold in the flour mixture to the wet until no flour is visible. Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes at 350F. Reduce the oven to 300F and bake with an aluminum foil loosely on top of the pan for another 20 - 30 minutes. Do a quick toothpick test to confirm the doneness – insert a tooth pick into the center of the bread and a tooth pick should come out clean when done. Let the bread cool slightly in the pan, then remove it from the pan. Serve.
Because the mixture is technically a liquid (not a dough), it will take a while to cook. Everyone's oven is different, so gauge the doneness accordingly. I usually watch the oven closely after 40 minutes into baking to prevent the outside of the bread to be burnt and to check the doneness in the center. If you're scared of losing a good bread (like I usually am), turn the oven off when the center of the bread is no longer jiggling (about 1 hour mark of total baking time) and leave the pan in the oven with the foil on top for another 10-20 minutes. Keep the oven door closed. Do another toothpick test.